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‘A41 ought to have X certificate’

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The Oscar-nominated production designer of hit film Les Miserables says she is now afraid to bring film directors into Dacorum because of the ‘disgusting’ state of the A41.

Eve Stewart chose every location used in the movie, including the Ashridge Estate near her Berkhamsted home, which she helped turn into the outskirts of Paris in midwinter.

Eve said: “We have also filmed in many other locations around Berkhamsted and Hemel over the years and I am always proud when international film crews admire the area.”

But when she recently suggested using the A41 for another project, her plans were shot down by the director, who called the trunk road ‘disgusting’.

Bin bags and bits of plastic were stuck in the trees and rubbish, bits of car, fast food trash and dirty nappies had been strewn across its verges, she said.

She said: “I was mortified but had to agree. I am sorry to say that we could not find not even a few metres where the grass was clear to film against over the whole run. How embarrassing.”

She later found a better-looking road and town approach in East London.

She said: “We have got £20m a year coming into the area from filming and people are now turning away in their droves because it’s covered in trash.

“Because I choose the locations I am bringing people to the area because I know what looks good here, and now I do not think I can.”

A major film project may typically spend about £32,000 a day on local employment and services while a TV production will spend up to £19,000 each day.

Dacorum Borough Council recently entered a partnership agreement with Creative England, which will promote locations in the area to the makers of films and TV shows.

Borough council assistant director David Austin said: “We do clear this area two to three times a year, depending on available budget.

“It can cost upwards of £800 a day for traffic management and takes between two to three weeks to clear.

“We would normally look to do this again sometime between February and March. If people didn’t drop litter in the first place this wouldn’t be an issue.”

 

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